Individuals in the state of California are not allowed to marry someone if they are already married. This is prosecuted as bigamy. However, there is a similar charge to bigamy, prosecuted under Penal Code 284, and that is the charge of marrying the husband or wife of another. This is the charge the unmarried person would face for marrying an already married person.
PC 284 is a felony charge. This means that individuals convicted of this charge may face prison time and heavy fines. Contact the Simmrin Law Group for additional answers to these and other legal questions today at (310) 997-4688.
Marrying the Husband or Wife of Another in California
PC 284 does not solely apply to marriage. Individuals could face PC 284 charges if they become the registered domestic partner of someone else’s husband or wife.
California does not allow individuals to marry or enter into a domestic partnership with anyone who is:
- Already married
- Separated but not divorced from their spouse
- Married to someone in another country
It does not matter if all involved parties consent to the marriage. Such a marriage (or domestic partnership) is still against the law.
Bigamy is the practice of marrying more than one person at a time. If a person marries someone who is already married, he or she could face both PC 283 (bigamy) and PC 284 charges.
A criminal defense lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group can help you fight these charges by building up your defense. Contact us today at (310) 997-4688 to learn more.
Exceptions to PC 284
There are some exceptions to PC 284. For example, you can marry someone who was previously married if their marriage has legally ended. If a person’s marriage ends in divorce, or if the court annuls or dissolves their marriage, then the individual is free to marry again. You can, however, marry someone if:
- Their spouse was absent for five consecutive years, and
- The person believed their spouse was dead
These exceptions hold true throughout the state of California.
Penalties Under PC 284
PC 284 is considered a felony in the state of California. Felony charges are very serious. For example, a conviction for marrying the husband or wife of someone else could result in:
- At least $5,000 in fines
- Up to three years of time behind bars
The court may award probation for a PC 284 conviction. While on probation, individuals have to obey the orders handed down to them by the court. Disobeying a court order could result in a probation violation. Individuals who violate their probation could:
- Face harsher penalties
- Have time added on to their probationary period
- Be sent to jail or prison
The Simmrin Law Group can help you if you have been accused of a probation violation.
Defenses Against PC 284
You have some defenses available to you if you have been accused of marrying someone’s spouse. The Simmrin Law Group can help you demonstrate that:
You Did Not Know About the Person’s Other Marriage
You should not face a PC 284 conviction if you married someone while believing they were single. Perhaps the person you married did not tell you about their past marriage. If you had reason to believe you were engaging in a legal marriage, one of our lawyers can help you.
You Fit One of the PC 284 Exceptions
There are exceptions to PC 284 charges. If you married someone who had a past marriage that ended, for example, you may be able to avoid a PC 284 conviction. You could also avoid a conviction if you had reason to believe that your spouse’s partner was no longer alive.
Work with the Simmrin Law Group Today to Fight a PC 284 Charge in California
If you were accused of marrying the husband or wife of another, the Simmrin Law Group can help. We can work with you to build up your defense against a Penal Code 284 charge. Call us right now for a free consultation at (310) 997-4688, or complete our online contact form. Let the Simmrin Law Group help – call today!